It’s been a while since we got an honest to God modern day SHUMP. We’ve seen plenty of ports of older titles finally get released on Steam, and maybe some incremental enhancements to those. But when was the last time we really saw a modern take on the genre? Thankfully, Raiden V came along last year and finally gave us a real update to the genre, and then recently even got an upgrade with a Director’s Cut.
So, with SHUMPs fresh on everyone’s mind thanks to Raiden V, we thought we’d take a moment to suggest some similar titles for people who recently jumped in with the new game and are eager to play more. After all, it’s not a terribly long game. You’ll need to check out some more to quell your urges!
Similar Game to Raiden V: Director's Cut
- System: Arcade, Dreamcast, GameCube, Xbox 360, PC
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Treasure
- Release Dates: April 15th, 2003 (US)
The Ubusunagami Okinokai: a magnificent magic that grants its wielder unfathomable power. When put in the hands of Tenro Horai, the leader of the island nation of Horai, it changed the course of history. Tenro used the Ubusunagami Okinokai to blitzkrieg as many surrounding nations as he could, and now suddenly, the world is in chaos. All hope is not lost though. Shinra, a pilot for the now defunct rebel group Tenkaku, continues to fight against Horai against all odds, and as luck would have it, he manages to acquire Ikaruga, a special fighter ship with the ability to switch energy polarities. Now you’ll play as Shinra and finally stop Tenro’s reign of terror.
You’re not going to play Ikaruga for any of that. The story is surprisingly in-depth for a SHUMP, but what you’re really here for is the rhythmic gameplay that comes from its central gameplay mechanic. Keeping up a white barrier blocks white bullets, gets you killed by black bullets, but boosts your attack power against black ships, and vice versa. It’s this constant interchange between the two different polarities that really drives the gameplay, as there’s always that pressure to put yourself in harm’s way to rack up your score. The tension is not unlike the fear of losing your single life in Raiden V.
2. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
- System: Wii, Wii U
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Treasure
- Release Dates: June 27th, 2010 (US)
It’s been over a decade since the events of the original Sin & Punishment. Humanity has discovered the existence of two different dimensions in the universe: Inner Space and Outer Space. Inner Space is ruled by the Creators, who see to it that the inhabitants of Outer Space (where existence as we know it lives) follows a set course, or else they blow it up and start anew. Earth has begun to diverge again, so the Creators send one of their agents to check up on the planet and make sure they don’t have to take drastic measures. You’ll play as Isa Jo, the son of Saki and Airan from the original Sin & Punishment, and protect this agent from the Nebulox, a group formed by the Creators and led by Isa’s former friend Deko.
Sin & Punishment is to bullet hell games what Uncharted 2 is to 3rd person shooters; it transforms the genre into one endless, nonstop thrill ride. The difference comes from perspective; rather than enemies shooting at you from the same plane you are on, you’ll actually have to dodge enemy shots that come from the background while you dodge and shoot back from the foreground. This shift to full 3D gave the designers some room to experiment with some crazy setpieces, like fist-fighting your former best friend while chained to him or flying through an underwater tunnel where you’ll on occasion fly out into the ocean. Anybody who loved the relentless action in Raiden V is sure to find Sin & Punishment: Star Successor a treat.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor Nintendo Media Summit Trailer:
3. Radiant Silvergun
- System: Saturn
- Publisher: Sega, ESP, Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Treasure
- Release Dates: July 23rd, 1998 (US)
Often considered one of the holy grails of the forgotten Saturn era of gaming, Radiant Silvergun found new life when it was finally ported to Xbox 360 with Microsoft’s involvement. This was largely due to the experimental design; rather than acquiring power-ups, you’d have all your weapons right from the get-go. Using them more levels them up, allowing for faster kills. Also, killing enemies of the same color in quick succession would build up your combo meter, racking up the points even faster.
This new take on the weaponry and combat in Radiant Silvergun opened up the game design for some new takes on the genre. Bosses would actually have various weaknesses all across their bodies, so you’d actually need to experiment with your weapons and blow up certain parts with different weapons in order to optimize your score. It added a lot of replayability to Radiant Silvergun and showed what could be done with the genre by streamlining the process; something that Raiden V would end up doing with its own weapon system.
Any Game Like Raiden V: Director's Cut ?
4. Gradius V
- System: Playstation 2
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: G. Rev, Treasure
- Release Dates: September 14th, 2004
Gradius V is about as purely classic Gradius as you can get. You’ll scroll from left to right, picking up power-ups and setting up multiples. However, Gradius V streamlines the process a little bit by giving players the power to restart at a checkpoint if they lose all their lives rather than having to restart the game, as well as opening up the Multiples system a bit by putting control into the player’s hand. You can actually position them around your ship and direct their shots!
Raiden and Gradius are something of sister series. Gradius came before Raiden, granted, but they’ve both been around for quite some time. The difference is that while Raiden has focused more on vertical scrolling, Gradius has been all about horizontal, each fulfilling that separate niche. However, while Raiden V was just very recently revived, Gradius has sadly been dormant for quite some time. Thankfully, Gradius V was re-released on the Playstation Network Store just a couple years ago, making it easier than ever to finally play this forgotten classic!
5. Sine Mora EX
- System: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Switch
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Developer: Grasshopper Studios
- Release Dates: August 8th, 2017
On the planet Seol, there exist two kingdoms. There’s the Atarach kingdom, which consists of the Enkie, a race of people who follow the teaching of the prophet Enki, and the Layil Kingdom, an authoritarian nation which only seeks to further expand its power. You’ll play from both perspectives. In one story, you’ll take control of Ronotra Koss, a grieving father who seeks revenge against his home nation of Layil for executing his son. The other, you’ll play as Aktya Dryad, a resistance fighter for the Enkies who wishes to free Atarach from Layil’s grasp.
SHUMPs don’t experiment a lot with extensive storytelling. This stems from old arcade games that would bore antsy children who wanted to immediately jump into a game. However, being a more recent, modern take, this gave Sine Mora EX more room to invest players into the plot. You’ll find plenty of dynamic camera movements during the action, and much heavier story themes than in your usual SHUMP. People who found themselves getting into the story that played out in the background of Raiden V would do well to check out Sine Mora EX.
Sine More EX – Nintendo Switch Reveal Trailer:
6. Sky Force Anniversary
- System: PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Vita, Xbox One, Wii U
- Publisher: Infinite Dreams
- Developer: Infinite Dreams
- Release Dates: April 15th, 2015
Perhaps the only game on this list to have been made outside of Japan, Sky Force Anniversary was one of the very first of the genre to adapt to mobile gaming. However, now it’s back, with redone graphics and extensive online features like weekly tournaments to entice players to improve and keep coming back for more. You’ll even find local co-op, so if you’ve ever had a friend who’s gotten sick of watching you show off your skills in other SHUMPs, toss ‘em a controller and get them into it too!
Since it was originally a mobile game, Sky Force Anniversary is something of a simpler experience than other games of the genre. If it’s part of the bullet hell canon, it probably exists on one of the higher circles, like maybe somewhere in between Lust and Gluttony. However, that also makes it a perfect entry point for someone who might be interested in the genre but was far too intimidated to wet their feet. So, if you bought Raiden V on a whim, want to get better but just can’t seem to make it past the first level, give Sky Force Anniversary a shot instead to get some practice in.
Sky Force Anniversary – Reveal Trailer:
We hope that this list at least provides some comfort in this bullet-limbo we seem to exist in. If you’d like the opportunity for others to transition from limbo into pure bullet-hell, though, please, leave some more suggestions in the comments below!